FOR more than a decade, load shedding has become a sad reality for South Africans. Picture: Pexels
FOR more than a decade, load shedding has become a sad reality for South Africans. Picture: Pexels

Load shedding and exams: Here are 6 tips to help you study effectively

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Nov 10, 2021

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IMAGINE, you have just finished the last four chapters before the exam tomorrow morning and everything is going according to plan, and in your mind nothing can go wrong. Well, until Eskom regretfully implements load shedding Stage 4.

For more than a decade, load shedding has become a sad reality for South Africans, especially now during a pandemic and amid final school examinations. Pupils writing their final examinations face the challenge of having little or no source of light during their study time and exam sessions, not forgetting university students who rely on online lectures.

Naptosa KZN’s provincial chief executive officer Thirona Moodley says the challenges of Eskom not only severely impacts the economy of the country, but also teaching and learning.

“The matric exams are well under way and high schools have also commenced exams in other grades. Load shedding has had a major impact on our pupils’ writing and preparing for exams. Pupils have a study timetable and know the pace they need to study to be ready for examinations. However, with the sudden onset of load shedding, pupils are left filled with stress and anxiety.

“During Stage 4, areas experience load shedding for up to six hours a day, and that is most of the study day lost. Exam sessions have also been impacted, as poor lighting in exam rooms is uncomfortable and places strain on our pupils.

“Load shedding affects the internet, and WiFi and cell towers are not functional. Pupils rely on the internet to complete previous years’ papers, and the Department of Education has study material available on its site, but this becomes inaccessible with loadshedding,” said Moodley.

The current power crisis is not showing much light at the end of the tunnel (no pun intended), and we need to find alternative ways to keep doing what we need to during power cuts.

Here are six tips on how to make the most of your studies, despite load shedding.

1. Know your load shedding schedule

The first thing is to know your area and zone number, and to download a reliable load shedding schedule or app. This will help you plan your study timetable around your load shedding times. Also include different loadshedding stages in your timetable, so you are prepared from Stage 1 to Stage 8.

Apps such as Gridwatch, MyEskom, and EskomsePush are all available for download on Android, IOS and the web.

2. Stock up on solar light bulbs or rechargeable lights

Candles can provide us with light during darkness, but you would need a better source of light to read with, plus you don’t want to be straining your eyes reading from a textbook.

Effective lighting will result in effective study sessions, without the flicker of a candle stick. There are LED USB desk lights available. Make sure it’s a white light, with a long cord.

3. Invest in a power bank

If you need your phone or laptop during study times, invest in a power bank. A power bank gives you up to two hours of power and improves as you go through a few discharge and recharge cycles of the power bank’s battery. The power bank can be used on its own to charge your devices or give you that extra boost you need.

4. Position your study area near natural light

In moments such as load shedding, natural light can be a light-saver. Position your desk and chair towards a window, where sunlight or moonlight is sure to shine through. Natural light can be more gentle to your eyes rather than a flickering candle or a somewhat dull-looking solar light bulb.

5. Prepare your school bag and uniform in advance

If you have a morning exam session and want to go over a chapter before the exam, but you have load shedding the night before or on the morning, prepare your stationery and school bag in advance. This helps prepare you, without you running around like a headless chicken, looking for your pencil or your school tie during load shedding.

6. Use load shedding hours as revision time

During non-load shedding time, study as much as you can with small breaks and use load shedding hours as time to test your knowledge. Mentally and verbally revise all that you have studied. This helps you relax a bit and use up the time to mentally prepare. Have someone test you.

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